/UM professor of 10,000 students plans on retirement

UM professor of 10,000 students plans on retirement

69-year-old McMinn intends to remain in the area following his retirement, but not without first embarking on a European river cruise with his wife in the spring. Photo courtesy of University Marketing and Communications.

July 2019 will mark the end of an era for University of Montevallo professor Nathan McMinn. After 41 years of teaching, he plans to retire. 

According to the University of Montevallo 2017-2018 Bulletin, McMinn has been working at the University longer than any other faculty member and is the last professor of the ‘70s. 

“Teaching has a rewarding value that is hard to explain,” said 69-year-old McMinn. “I am lucky that I have got to experience the students and faculty here.” 

McMinn, originally from Brevard, North Carolina, pursued a BSBA in marketing at Western Carolina University as an undergraduate student. 

“I just picked marketing because I needed a major as an undergraduate student. It sounded fun,” he said. “I didn’t really know what it was, but I enjoyed it.” 

After graduating, he worked different jobs for a few years including industrial engineering and tractor driving until he decided to return to WCU to pursue an MBA. 

McMinn never planned on being a professor, but instead was looking at an international sales position at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company after he graduated. He was interested in the traveling aspect of the job.  

The position at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was put on hold as they were not ready to fill the position. 

“It’s a good thing I didn’t get that job,” said McMinn. “I can’t imagine selling cigarettes to people.” 

The dean of the business department at WCU told McMinn about a possible teaching position at UM.  

McMinn flew down for an interview and got the job. He began working at UM in 1978, but did not have any intention on staying. 

Since joining UM, McMinn has taught over 10,000 students. It is common for him to teach children of previous students and current colleagues. 

In 2008, the University of Montevallo National Alumni Association presented McMinn with the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award after being nominated by alumni including DeAnna Smith, an instructor of accounting from Morris, Alabama. 

“He has been able not only to keep up with the ever-changing technology in his teaching role, but he also has been able to relate to all the generations of students he has seen come through our department,” said Smith. “Ultimately, I believe that his genuine interest in our students’ success shines through and makes him a favorite teacher in each generation of students.” 

McMinn said that the best part of being a professor has been being able to give input in students’ lives and leave a positive impact. 

“Being a professor has been a great lifestyle. It has been the best lifestyle,” he said. 

Harry Hamilton, a former professor of management and McMinn’s good friend, believes that there was no better job for McMinn. 

“He was good for the University and the University was good for him,” said Hamilton. “It was truly a match made in heaven.” 

Lanie Bell, a fifth-year accounting major from Priceville, Alabama, sees McMinn as a mentor and looks to him for guidance. 

“Dr. McMinn knows how to cultivate student potential, converse with students and he is a really easy professor to connect with,” said 22-year-old Bell. “He made me feel like I belonged and helped me find where I fit in at this University. I owe everything I am right now to him and his advice.” 

As the chair of the business department and a professor, McMinn must be knowledgeable in student issues, academic rules, communication skills and the most current technology. 

He has watched as UM started becoming more dependent on the internet and offered more online classes each year to be competitive among other universities. 

McMinn teaches classes based on computers, marketing, management, networking, programming, web design and java script. Web design is his favorite subject to teach since the students are able to be creative in their work. 

“I don’t necessarily have a least favorite class,” he said. “You can always make a class decent with a little work.” 

McMinn has strong roots in Montevallo after teaching at UM for so long, participating in College Night activities, cheering on students at athletic events and attending the First United Methodist Church in town, so he plans on sticking around in the area. 

However, he wants be able to do certain things now with his wife Martha McMinn, his children Katherine Campbell and Sarah Agarwal and his three grandchildren while he is still able to. 

McMinn plans on traveling and has a goal to take his grandchildren to all of the national parks after his retirement. 

He is currently planning on taking a European river cruise with his wife in the spring of 2019. 

“He wants to see the world, and I hope that he does,” said Bell. “No one is more deserving of retirement than him.” 

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